This is an old article re-circled as part of honour remembering some of the activities of late Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the former Oyo state governor and acting chair of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Your No. 1. online news platform in Oyo state, insideoyo.com, brings you 5 major political battles fought by the late former Oyo State Governor, Senator Isiaq Abiola Ajimobi.
Senator Abiola Ajimobi once boasted that he has never lost any political battles since he joined politics. However, insideoyo.com FACT CHECK showed that Mr Governor contested in the 2007 Gubernatorial Election in Oyo State under the umbrella of ANPP. He lost the election to an alleged rigging saying he leaves everything to God but never gives up his desire to serve. He re-contested again in the April 2011 elections under the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and was elected Governor of Oyo State in a closely contested vote.
Before the 2007 gubernatorial battle, he was elected in 2003 as a Senator of the Republic of Nigeria representing Oyo South Senatorial District on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy(AD).
Hence, as a sitting governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi fought political battles both within and outside the party. Below are the 5 major political battles:
1. Shittu’s Ministerial Appointment:
Reports have it that Senator Abiola Ajimobi was ‘unhappy’ with President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination of Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu for ministerial appointment. Reports say Ajimobi and his loyalists in the All Progressives Congress (APC) met to consider whatever last-minute options are available towards scuttling Shittu’s emergence as minister, ahead of the senate’s unveiling of the nominees.
The Cable reported at that time that Ajimobi’s initial list of ministerial nominees to Buhari included Iyiola Oladokun, a lawyer and deputy governor during late Lamidi Adesina’s governorship tenure. But when presidency sources confirmed to him that the president may not consider his nominee, he nominated Zaccheus Adelabu, Bimbo Kolade and Muyiwa Gbaadegesin, all former commissioners, due to their “perceived closeness” to Bola Tinubu, national leader of the party.
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But at last, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Bar Adebayo Shittu as the minister of communication, representing Oyo state at the Federal Executive Council.
2. Ibadan Obaship Tussle: Senator Abiola Ajimobi created a committee to review the 1959 Olubadan Chieftancy Declaration. The committee recommended 32 beaded-crown Obas in Ibadan while the Olubadan would remain as paramount ruler of Ibadanland.
People of Oyo State saw it as a plot by government to retire the former Oyo State governor, Senator Rasheed Adewolu Ladoja who is one of the High Chiefs and Osi Olubadan. Unhappy about the development, the Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba Saliu Adetunji, sued the Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi and 23 others, over their involvements in the crowning of 21 kings in Ibadan.
The Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan declared the judicial commission of inquiry set up by Gov. Abiola Ajimobi to review the 1957 Chieftaincy Declaration of Ibadanland as unconstitutional, illegal and of no effect. The Governor however, appealed against the decision of the Oyo State High Court, Ibadan division.
While the case is still in court, the twenty-one elevated High Chiefs were given beaded crowns and staff of office at the historic Mapo Hall in Ibadan by Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
3. Oyo APC Primary Election: As many people await the conduct of Oyo APC primary election for the Local Government and Local Council Development Area Election, Governor Abiola Ajimobi opted for consensus candidate through an indirect primary which was held at Lafia Hotels, Apata, Ibadan. This development was not supported by most party chieftains and members. They accused the governor of imposing people from his group, Senaco as candidates for the party. The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, told Governor Abiola Ajimobi that the list of his loyalists recently unveiled as the party’s candidates for the May 12 council election will not stand and will be resisted.
Also, Five Eruwa town elders filed a case against the OYSIEC, Oyo State Governor and the Attorney-General of the state, praying that the court to restrain the defendants, their servants, agents or privies from using, relying on or employing the use of any electoral areas or wards and polling stations for the purpose of any elections in Oyo State, including local government elections, other than the electoral areas or wards and polling stations created by the INEC pending the determination of the substantive action.
Despite all these, those Governor Ajimobi listed were presented as the party’s candidates for the May 12 council election and they all won. The election held as scheduled not minding the court ruling although, it recorded low turn out of electorates.
4. OYHA Speakership Battle: After the demise of late Rt Hon Micheal Adeyemo, there was a need to elect a new speaker. As expected, many people in the state and even outside thought the Deputy Speaker, Rt Hon Musa AbdWasi will become the next speaker automatically but Constitution and the House Rule are not clear on whether the Deputy Speaker should become the next speaker or an election should be conducted.
As the leader of the party in the state, Governor Ajimobi invited members of the House of Assembly elected on the platform of APC and picked the former Minority leader, Hon. Ojo Olagunju Joshua who was elected on the platform of LP. The news met most people with shock as they expected the Deputy Speaker to contest with the Governor’s candidate.
However, despite the division within the Oyo APC and the Deputy Speaker’s chances, Hon Joshua Ojo Olagunju emerged the speaker unopposed.
5. Oyo APC Congressess: The Oyo APC Congress is another battle by the Koseleri of Oyo State. It’s an ongoing battle between the governor’s group – Senaco and Unity Forum. Unity Forum is a conglomeration of other groups in the Oyo APC. The battle started with the ward congress. Thugs attacked the state party secretariat where forms were meant to be obtained for the congress. People were injured, including three members of the party’s National Ward Congress Committee that came to conduct the exercise.
Some party leaders, including the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, Senator Monsura Sunmonu, a governorship aspirant, Adeolu Akande, a member of the House of Representatives, Dapo Lam-Adesina, and others rushed to the state police headquarters to lodge complaints alleging that the state governor’s loyalists who are members of the Senaco group brought thugs to disrupt the activities because they did not pay for the purchase of the form as stated in the party’s constitution.
The congress had to be postponed till Sunday by the congress committee chairman, Miss Haliru. The Unity From held its congress peacefully through out the state, reports say.
Ward congress as the foundation led to both Local government and State congresses in which both factions held at different locations.
The question of whose congress is authentic then came in. The Unity Forum claimed that its congresses are the authentic, from the ward level to the state level because it followed the laid down rules of the congress committee and the party’s constitution. The power to decide which is authentic lies with the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.
While we await the NWC verdict on the congresses, we want you to score the governor over 5 in the political battles listed above.